Georgia Law Banning Food And Water For Voters May Cost The State Sports Events

Shortly after the year began, you may recall that former president Donald Trump was recorded asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" votes for him and insisting that the state's election results were influenced by dead voters, out-of-state voters, and votes being "flipped" after they were cast.

Although both the Secretary of State's office and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution debunked these claims, that apparently didn't stop GOP representatives in the state from voting in favor of a bill that would restrict voting access in Georgia.

Democrats and voting rights groups accused this new law of targeting voters of color — particularly the state's Black population — and was considered particularly egregious when early versions of the bill seemed as though they would ban Sunday voting and no-excuse absentee voting in the state.

Still, what did remain in the law continues to prompt similar concerns, which now carry the possibility of influencing sports leagues to pull upcoming events out of Georgia.

Although mail-in voting remains in place in Georgia, voters in the state will find regulations around it more restrictive than before.

According to The New York Times, the new law restricts who can vote through provisional ballots and requires the use of a state-issued identification card to exercise this option.

The law also restricts the number of drop boxes that accept mail-in votes with Representative Zulma Lopez stating that her district would see the number of available boxes drop from 33 to nine.

However, these aren't the only measures in the bill that have prompted concerns from opponents.

The New York Times also reported that the law empowers the state with latitude to take over the operations of county election boards and even makes it a crime to offer food and water to voters waiting in line at polling places.

President Joe Biden has referred to similar actions by Republican-controlled state legislatures throughout the country as "pernicious" and behavior that "makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle."

But while the fallout from the bill is clearly heated in Georgia, nationwide sports leagues are also starting to feel the pressure from its opponents.

As CNN reported, the National Black Justice Coalition is now calling on the PGA Tour to pull out of the upcoming Masters tournament set to take place in the state's Augusta National Golf Club. They're also requesting that professional golfers refuse to play in Georgia until the law is repealed.

In a statement, a representative from the rights organization said, "The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country -- and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia's new racist voter suppression law -- but to also take action."

And since this year's MLB All-Star Game is set to take place in Truist Park — home of the Atlanta Braves — the nation's baseball officials face their own crossroads.

And according to CNN, Tony Clark of the MLB Players Association has expressed openness to broaching the possibility of convincing the league to pull the game out of Georgia.

But as he said, while players are sharing their own concerns about the law, "as it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue."

One organization that has come out in open condemnation of the law, however, is the Women's National Basketball Players Association.

In statement obtained by CNN, representatives from the WNBPA said, "SB 202 is a direct attack on the historic turnout and participation by voters during the November and January elections -- elections where Georgians voted to elect the first Black and Jewish senators from Georgia [...] This is a racist backlash designed to silence the people's voices, mirroring the over 200 bills in state legislatures across the country designed to target voters and suppress democracy."

h/t: The New York Times, CNN

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